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General election 2019: what is Labour promising on the NHS?

Proposing a 4.3% rise in annual funding, John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, is to say that 'proper funding' is needed to maintain a world-class health service.

Article originally published by The Week. Hargreaves Lansdown is not responsible for its content or accuracy and may not share the author's views. News and research are not personal recommendations to deal. All investments can fall in value so you could get back less than you invest.

Party pledges to outspend the Tories with £26bn rescue plan

The party’s pledge would give the health service £5.5bn more a year by 2023-24 than the £20.5bn the Conservatives have promised. The Guardian says a Labour government would pay for the funding with “higher taxes on companies and the wealthiest in society”.

Proposing a 4.3% rise in annual funding, John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, is to say that “proper funding” is needed to maintain a world-class health service.

Labour says it would end the lengthening delays in A&E and cancer treatment, tackle the NHS’s staffing crisis, bring back bursaries for student nurses, bolster mental healthcare and pay for a new generation of hospitals, GP surgeries and mental health facilities.

The pledge puts pressure on Boris Johnson who made the health service one of his three “people’s priorities” for his election campaign. The prime minister has visited hospitals regularly during the campaign.

Responding to Labour’s NHS pitch, the Tories said it was “a major error” which would cost the NHS £6.1bn because of its aspiration to cut the working week from five to four days.

Health secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “Jeremy Corbyn’s plans for a four-day working week will cripple our economy and cost the NHS billions every year. That leaves a huge funding shortfall in Labour’s plans and it is patients who will pay the price.”

The Liberal Democrats also dismissed Labour’s plan. Luciana Berger, the party’s health, social care and wellbeing spokeswoman, said: “Labour’s health announcement today completely misses the point. They are ignoring the fact that Brexit is the biggest threat to the NHS; if Labour allow Brexit to happen, they cannot rescue our NHS.”

However, the BBC says Labour's proposals were “welcomed” by NHS leaders. Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents managers, said the pledge represented a “significant extra investment” on top of what has been set by the government. “If used wisely, it would help to transform services and retain front-line staff.”

NHS funding has been a key electoral battleground since 2010, when the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition limited the NHS to annual rises of just over 1%, far below the 3.7% increases it received on average between its creation in 1948 and 2010, The Guardian says.


This article was from The Week and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Article originally published by The Week. Hargreaves Lansdown is not responsible for its content or accuracy and may not share the author's views. News and research are not personal recommendations to deal. All investments can fall in value so you could get back less than you invest.

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